Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Teen arts program gets new start

Rashed Guess Sr. and his wife, Porchia Guess, bring their kids, from left, Rashed Jr., 7; Csiaire, 1; and Adeyla, 8, to the kick off of the SMART Kids program at Melrose Elementary on Friday.
Published Aug. 16, 2013

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about changes — including key departures — at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast housed at the Royal Theater in Midtown.

The facility was home to the Senior Conservatory, which had been popular among teens interested in the arts. The program featured classes in drama, dance, music development, graphic arts and recording arts production. But that program was nixed when the Juvenile Welfare Board opted to only fund programs targeting children under 14 years old.

In the ensuing months, participation at the center averaged 40 students per day, mostly attending after-school tutoring programs.

When only 10 students signed up for the summer program, the club was forced to close — sending those kids to the Jamestown site at 1035 Burlington Ave. N.

On Monday, the facility will reopen with a new strategy to reach at-risk children.

Part of that strategy will include a joint effort in launching the SMART Kids (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) program at Melrose Elementary. The program targets children from 6 to 9. The year-round program encourages collaboration among the club's staff, youth, parents and representatives from other community organizations.

On Friday, club officials held a giveaway to help encourage parental participation.

There's a plan in place by Boys & Girls Clubs officials there that could bode well for participants and local art organizations.

"At the facility itself, we're trying to work with community art organizations," said Dale L. Kleine, project/strategic initiatives manager for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast.

She also stressed they will continue programs for younger kids who want to focus on the arts.

Normal hours will resume Monday, including after-school homework help and tutoring

• • •

Meanwhile, there's good news on the Senior Conservatory program.

Since departing the Royal Theater, the program has also changed its name. It is now ACT — Arts Conservatory for Teens — a collaborative effort with the city and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Since making the move to the former Dalí Museum site — now called Harbor Hall — the program has experienced considerable growth. This term, 200 students are expected.

The first Teen Arts Culture and Career Festival, a daylong event, is Sept. 20 at USF St. Petersburg. The goal is to use the arts festival platform to promote higher education.

It is a collaboration between the city, Pinellas County School District, USF St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg College, St. Pete Young Professionals and other community arts groups.

"There hasn't been a festival like this in the area — so we're pretty excited about it," said Alex Harris, director of the ACT program at USF St. Pete.

Organizers say the event's unique approach targets students throughout Pinellas County and uses the arts platform to promote higher education.

They're still working out the details, but basically, the goal is to offer opportunities for first-generation students to go to college and to increase college enrollment among students in the community.

The event will include symposiums and break-out sessions in the morning, while the afternoon session will feature community leaders, entertainment and games.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at sgadsden@tampabay.com or at (727) 893-8874 and on Twitter at @StPeteSandi.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Earlier today• Opinion
    Editorial cartoons for Thursday TIM CAMPBELL  |  Washington Post Syndicate
  2. More emphasis on rehabilitation and a review of court fines and fees would be a start, a columnist writes.
  3. A graffiti of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is seen on the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. LEFTERIS PITARAKIS  |  AP
    Here’s what readers had to say in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
  4. Donald Baylis, left, kisses Rosalyn Dobson's hand before getting on buses at an assisted living facility in South Florida to evacuate in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Sept., 2017. [Photo by Andrew Innerarity for the Washington Post]
    A state lawmaker’s bill would scrap the requirement that assisted living facilities report to the state when a resident is hurt or dies within one business day.
  5. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks as CNN moderator Chris Cuomo listens during the Power of our Pride Town Hall Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The LGBTQ-focused town hall featured nine 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ  |  AP
    Intolerant condescension is rarely a winning political strategy. | Ruth Marcus
  6. Leonard Pitts
    This almost literal inability to see black people is not limited to law enforcement. | Leonard Pitts Jr.
  7. Editorial cartoons for Wednesday CLAY BENNETT  |  Chattanooga Times Free Press
  8. A photo from 2018 St. Pete Pride
    Here’s what readers had to say in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
  9. East Hillsborough is Ground Zero for the folly of unchecked sprawl that has occurred over the last several decades. [Times (2005)] Times staff
    County commissioners should embrace moratorium on rezoning rural land in south county for big new developments.
  10. Catherine Rampell, Washington Post columnist.
    Maybe his speech at Notre Dame wasn’t a battle cry against his religious or political opponents, but something else. | Catherine Rampell
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement